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Immigration and the American Dream: Battling the Political Hype and Hysteria Hardcover – May 21, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Peggy Orchowski has written a fine introduction to the immigration debate. This book lays out a roadmap of the facts, the politics, and the buzzwords, helping the concerned citizen move beyond the simplistic cries of 'xenophobia' and 'racism' to a fuller understanding of this vital national issue. (Mark Krikorian, executive director, Center for Immigration Studies)
Margaret Sands Orchowski's Immigration and the American Dream is a readable sociological and political report that provides the information on which sound immigration policy can be crafted. It should be required reading in every office in Congress and every policy think tank in the District of Columbia. (Governor Bill Richardson, New Mexico)
Mentioned in article about immigration policy. (Andy Piper Telegraph Herald, 20 November 2009)
About the Author
Margaret Sands Orchowski is the vice president of programs of the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Washington correspondent and columnist for the Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education.
Top customer reviews
In some cases the inaccuracies are basic but delegitimize the premise of the book. For example, her definition of asylum as a program limited to a certain number of months is blatantly wrong. Errors like this make it hard to take the rest of the book seriously.
Other passages are so clearly attempts to be inflammatory. During a general description of the family-based immigration system, the author drops in the following: "A little-known fact about new permanent immigrants is that senior citizens and disabled family members who are granted green cards are immediately eligible for Social Security insurance benefits regardless of whether they or any family member ever paid into the system." Not only is it a nonsequitor, but it is simply wrong. Green card holders are ineligible for Social Security for the first 5 years they are in the U.S., after which they may be eligible to receive benefits based on their earnings and what they paid into the system. However, some refugees (people the U.S invited for humanitarian reasons who may have fled their country with only the shirts on their backs) may be immediately eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI - very different from Social Security), but only if they are elderly, blind, or disabled and meet the requirements of the program.
Her discussion of buzzwords, myths, and mantras is also completely unbalanced. While defending her side from terms like "anti-immigrant" and "draconian" and taking on those who claim that "the U.S. is a nation of immigrants" and "illegal immigration is a civil rights issue," the book does not similarly undermine the terms "chain migration" or "open borders coalition."
In other places Orchowski begins a paragraph with "some authors claim...," after which readers expecting a balanced perspective would hope to see "on the other hand, other authors claim..." However no such satisfaction is received. While there is discussion about the costs of immigration, there is no similar analysis of the benefits of immigration. As is everything else in the book, the description of the failure of the 2007 immigration reform bill is strictly one-sided.
Anyone expecting an "honest and frank" discussion will be sorely disappointed. Orchowski would have been better off describing her book for what it is - a biased analysis of the immigration debate and its actors.
In sum, the author does a disservice to the issue by contributing to the mounds of misinformation. She also does a disservice to the restrictionists by further undermining their credibility with her inaccuracies.
The question remains: how should the USA best reform its broken immigration system?
Well, now we citizens are, as Lincoln said, "engaged in a great civil war, testing whether a nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure". The very freedoms which the Emancipation Proclamation proclaimed are again up for dispute.
Thus it is now particularly useful to have a solid recitation of immigration history, which is provided by a new book, written by Peggy Orchowski entitled, "Immigration and the American Dream" (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008) which as she told an audience on June 11th at the office of Progressives for Immigration Reform, "that although America does have a tradition of uniting families through its immigration policy, that tradition only goes back to the immigration reforms of 1965. Before that time, immigration policy was determined by economics. Families had tough decisions to make at Ellis Island when it was determined that one of their own could not enter the country.
This point was not made in an effort to contend that America should return to such a policy. Rather, it helped Orchowski make her main point: that although substantive debate on immigration often gets eaten up by politicians playing politics, it is neither a liberal nor conservative issue. It cleaves where it will, irrespective of our incessant compulsion to split issues cleanly across party lines. Orchowski made a point of stating that she herself is a proud Democrat. She doesn't seek to play politics with observations like the one about family ties. Instead, she wants Americans to confront historical truths honestly, even in the face of political hysteria.."
We need to have our Congress and White House look at and act on the hard questions:
Do we citizens want to keep importing slave labor so our population swells to 500 million by 2050 or one billion by 2100?
Do we want our tax dollars going to pay for services for the legal and illegal aliens that the cheap labor-importing businesses, the ethnic and religious advocacy groups, want at the expense of the rest of us?
Do we care that our cultural heritage based on the Rule of Law continues to be broken by those same greedy, self interested folks who have paid big money to elect our Congress and the White House?
There are many more obvious questions I could add, but you get the point.
Why not immediately extend E verify? Why not make sure Real ID is fully implemented? Why not amend our Constitution or pass an appropriate law to eliminate anchor babies? Why not stop allowing illegal aliens to eat up our precious tax supported services?
Why not use legal ID to foreclose employment to those here illegally, thus allowing a gradual ebbing of the 20 million or more illegal aliens now here, so they return to their native places?
What are the arguments for not stopping this huge flow of legal and illegal aliens?
The reason for the growing spate of hateful characterizations against those main stream voices who are leading the fight to achieve real immigration reform now comes abundantly very clear.
Those who benefit from this continuing invasion of both legal and illegal aliens are fighting tooth and nail to keep the status quo. Their only real argument now is to call reputable people, who have presented overwhelming, carefully reasoned evidence on the urgent need for real immigration reform, racists, nativists, and xenophobes.
Progressives for Immigration Reform recently sent out to the media the results of PFIR's newly released poll , which demonstrates that liberals are concerned about the current levels of immigration into the United States and the harmful effect that current immigration policies are having on U.S. population growth, the environment, and the availability of jobs.
The poll was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC in April 2009. Key findings from this poll revealed:
1. Sixty seven percent of liberals and progressives felt the level of population growth caused by immigration negatively impacts the quality of life in the United States.
2. Fifty eight percent felt that the current levels of immigration are harmful to the environment.
3. Sixty three percent said that current levels of immigration hurts job prospects for American workers.
4. With regard to undocumented workers already here, the poll revealed that self-identified liberals are split over whether illegal immigrants should be offered an amnesty. Fifty three percent were in support of a pathway to citizenship and forty five percent were opposed. [See full survey results here.]
Its Executive Director, Mrs.Leah Durant noted:
"The results of this poll demonstrate what many on the political left have known for some time. Immigration is not a partisan issue. There are many progressives and liberals that are concerned about the unintended consequences that large scale immigration has on the environment, economy, and other issues that many liberals are concerned about. It is time to take this issue off the back burner. We need to talk frankly about the effects of immigration and find solutions that benefit both Americans and the global community."
The vast numbers of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans who are basically progressive in their views will welcome this book's straightforward recitation of the facts and will hope that our Federal Government will soon realize that our country has not gained from this vast immigrant invasion beginning with the law changes of 1965.